NHL on NBCSN: ‘Hawks looking for veterans to ‘pick up the slack’ in matchup with Flyers
NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Philadelphia Flyers at 8:30 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.
It took the Chicago Blackhawks three games, but they finally came up with their first win of the season on Saturday night.
One of the big stories surrounding the ‘Hawks early in the season is their struggles on the penalty kill. Of the 11 goals they’ve conceded in 2016-17, seven have come while the opposition was on the man-advantage.
Because of salary cap constraints, the Blackhawks have been forced to insert some young forwards into their lineup.
Ryan Hartman (before getting hurt), Nick Schmaltz, Vinnie Hinostroza and Tyler Motte have had some ups and downs, but they aren’t necessarily the problem, according to star winger Patrick Kane.
“I think they’ve been great for us, to be honest with you,” Kane said, per CSN Chicago. “I think it’s more on us veteran guys to pick up the slack and make sure we’re playing better.”
Veteran agitator Jordin Tootoo is battling an illness and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to suit up in this one. If he can’t go, expect Chicago to go with 11 forwards and seven defensemen.
Corey Crawford, who got the night off against Nashville on Saturday, should be back between the pipes tonight. He’ll be looking to collect his first win of the season.
The Flyers will be concluding their three-game road trip that’s been pretty successful so far. They opened the season with a big 4-2 win at LA and they followed that up with an OT loss to the Coyotes on Saturday night.
Heading back to Philadelphia with a 2-0-1 record would be an awesome start for them.
According to CSN Philly, the Flyers might be tweaking their lines heading into tonight’s contest.
“We’re going to consider different things,” head coach Dave Hakstol said, per CSN Philly. “Nothing is set in stone yet, but we’re looking at a couple different things.”
During Monday’s practice, Matt Read moved up to the third line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Dale Weise, while Nick Cousins was demoted to the fourth line with Boyd Gordon and Chris VandeVelde. But Cousins might come out of the lineup altogether, as KHL veteran Roman Lyubimov rotated onto the fourth line as well.
Like Chicago, the Flyers have a couple of rookies on their roster too. Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov were solid in their first week as NHLers.
Konecny, 19, has three assists in his first two games, while Provorov, also 19, picked up an assist. The Russian defenseman is also averaging almost 20 minutes of ice time per game.
They’ll also be looking to get more offensive contributions from Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux and Shayne Gostisbehere. They each have one assist in their first two games.